There was a time when I was at a really low weight that was harming my health. I had overtrained and dieted for years and it had caught up with me. At the same time, I began to notice that I had to work harder and harder to “stay thin”. I was trapped in a diet and exercise prison and my body was breaking down. I decided to make a change and focus on self care instead of what the scale reads or what size clothes I own.
Part of my new “self care” plan was to allow myself to gain weight and accept my natural body type. It turns out I’m naturally curvy and much healthier with additional pounds on my body.
If you are someone that has tried every diet under the sun and nothing has worked, I want you to know that you did not fail. Dieting failed you. Science continues to prove that dieting does not work, and it can do you more harm than good.
Instead of blaming yourself, feeling guilty, or searching for yet another diet, I recommend doing something completely different.
Quit dieting for good. Make peace with your body. Switch your focus to taking care of yourself and enjoying your life. Life is too short to waste it on restrictive dieting that doesn’t work and can harm your health.
Making peace with your body may be one of the most challenging and liberating things you will ever do for yourself. It rarely happens overnight, and it is an ongoing process. However, the more you focus on self care and less on what the diet industry sells, the more comfortable in your own skin you will become. I promise.
Here are nine tips to help you say no to dieting and yes to making peace with your body:
- Ditch the guilt. Please don’t blame yourself for the diet industry’s failures and misguided approach to health and fitness. You are not a failure. Science is on your side.
- Avoid comparison to others. Just because the latest fad diet or high intensity work out is working for your friend does not mean it is right for you. We all have different needs and abilities. No two bodies are alike which is why a canned approach to health and fitness does not work.
- Ditch your scale. If you feel depressed the majority of the time you weigh yourself, the scale IS NOT helping you. I suggest tossing it in the recycle bin or locking it in a closet. Taking a sledgehammer to it is another option. 🙂
- Listen to your body and your cravings. Ever crave a salad after eating decadent food for three days? That’s your body’s way of telling you what you need. When you let go of guilt and shame and focus on getting your body what it needs, you will seek out eating balanced meals.
- Have fun. Restrictive behavior causes stress and creates a scarcity mentality which can lead to binging. Allow yourself to enjoy food without worrying about calories. Being happy and joyful serves your mind and body well.
- Healthy bodies come in all sizes. Over the years I’ve trained people of all sizes and I’ve learned that you should not judge someone’s health by their size. I’ve had the opportunity to perform numerous health assessments and review enough doctor’s reports to learn that good health really does come in different shapes and sizes.
- Take the focus off of weight loss. A “natural” body weight is normally a weight that you can maintain without restricting yourself from the things you enjoy, or beating yourself to a pulp at the gym. We all have our own natural weight where our body is most comfortable and can maintain itself. We also know when we are overdoing it any area of our lives and if there are things we should cut back on like sugar, alcohol, etc. Practicing moderation should be about your health, not about numbers on the scale. When you focus on truly being healthy instead of skinny, weight loss is often times a natural byproduct.
- Give yourself room to grow. Just because we make peace with our bodies does not mean we will always like everything about them and that’s normal. Being at peace with your body is making the choice to love it and take care of it rather than harm it or manipulate it in pursuit of happiness or acceptance. I’m way happier at the weight I am now because I am free from the pressures of dieting.
- Wear what you like. You do not have to change your body to wear a swimsuit, tank top, skinny jeans, or any other type of clothing that may seem off limits based on society’s shallow opinions. Wear what you want and enjoy yourself.
A healthy lifestyle is a total package that has very little to do with what a scale reports. Healthy living includes things like having healthy relationships, working with purpose, exercising or participating in physical activity you enjoy, having enough energy, eating well and dining with the ones you love, having fun, loving yourself and the people around you, eliminating unnecessary stress, getting good rest, drinking lots of water, getting good check ups at the doctor’s office, growing spiritually and emotionally, and having self-confidence in who you were designed to be.
Here’s to making peace with your body and no longer allowing the fitness and diet industry’s narrow definition of what “healthy” looks like to control our lives and emotions!
Shared with love,
Photo above is by Petar Dopchev on Unsplash